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How to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep

By Swingers

Tired of feeling tired? From getting outside first thing to overhauling your bedtime routine, Discover our ultimate guide on how to get a good night's sleep.

How to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep

Tired of feeling tired? From getting outside first thing to overhauling your bedtime routine, in this article we provide a solution to the infamous question “How to get a good night’s sleep?” 


If you wake up longing for a lie in, neck three coffees before lunch and then lie awake late into the night feeling wired, it might be time to give your sleep routine an overhaul. While the odd restless night isn’t a big deal, long-term sleep issues can negatively impact our physical and mental health, as well as making us less than delightful company.  

Despite the siren’s call of sleep aids, there’s no magic pill that can fix sleep issues overnight. But there are many things you can do both during the day and in the evening to set yourself up for a dreamy night’s sleep, every night. 


During the day

day time

Let the light in



Credit: Davis Phinney Foundation

Your body’s internal clock is regulated by light exposure so getting a good boost of sunlight — especially in the morning — is essential. Don’t rely on simply sitting near a window; head out on a brisk walk before breakfast to get some early morning light on your skin. 


Get moving

People working out

Credit: The Conversation 


Getting out and about every day is great for your sleep quality, boosting the effect of the sleep hormone melatonin. Morning workouts outside can be especially helpful as they have the added benefit of upping your light exposure. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime as it can leave you feeling amped up. Instead, try some gentle and restorative yoga poses in the hour before bed to release tension.

Limit Naps

Elderly man sleeping

Credit: UCSF

Sometimes a juicy afternoon nap can make everything feel right with the world. But if you’ve been struggling to get to sleep at night, your napping habit might be to blame. Make sure you keep any naps short (around 20 minutes is ideal) and avoid napping too close to bedtime. 


Manage your stress levels

Woman Stressed

Credit: Health

Nothing is less helpful when you’re stressed or anxious than being told to relax. But there are ways you can manage your stress so it doesn’t impact your ability to get proper rest. If you tend to lie in bed thinking about everything you have to get done the next day, try keeping a pen and paper on your bedside table so you can jot down all your thoughts before you attempt to sleep. Journaling during the day can also help you to work through anything that’s bothering you.

Meditation apps can also be great for calming your mind before bed, talking you through breathing exercises and helping to reframe difficult emotions. If your stress has become chronic, it’s also worth exploring professional help with a qualified therapist. 


Watch your diet

Man choosing healthy or unhealthy diet

Credit: Sci Tech Daily

What you eat and drink during the day can impact your sleep that night. Steer clear of heavy evening meals and go easy on the alcohol before bed. It’s also wise to avoid any stimulants, including nicotine, sugar and caffeine, at least two hours before bed (although if you’re sensitive to caffeine you might want to move to decaf after 2pm). It’s hard to fall asleep when your stomach is rumbling so if you’re feeling peckish before bed, eat a small healthy snack to tide you over until breakfast. Your digestion follows a strict process that must be completed before you switch your body off, by giving yourself plenty of time to process the food you have ate, this will naturally improve your mind and body’s ability to shut off.


Before bed

night light

Establish a regular sleep schedule

Sticking to a regular schedule is one of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, to help regulate your body’s internal clock. Once you’ve done this for a few weeks you might notice you start waking up naturally before your alarm has gone off.  


Create a relaxing bedtime routine

Make your bedtime ritual a non-negotiable part of your day. A warm bath or shower before bed can be a great way to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and relax tired muscles. Reading is also a tried-and-tested way to relax (although it might be wise to avoid horror or thriller novels), helping to take your mind off the day’s activities. You could also listen to soothing music, sip herbal tea or do some meditation. Whatever helps you to be ready to drift into a peaceful sleep.  


Create a comfortable sleep environment

A good sleep environment should be cool, dark and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress to avoid aches and pains and choose hypoallergenic pillows if you’re prone to night-time sniffles. Keep the room well-ventilated (around 16-18°C is meant to be ideal). Everyone’s preferences are different when it comes to sound — some need complete silence (in which case, keeping earplugs nearby might be a good idea) while others prefer white noise, gentle music or a sleep story or meditation. 

It’s also important to keep some boundaries around your bedroom. As much as it’s tempting to snuggle into the duvet while you answer emails or watch Netflix, it’s best to reserve your bed for sleep and sex. 


Embrace the darkness

Before we had alarm clocks to provide a rude awakening, people used light to dictate their sleep schedule, waking when the sun rose and going to sleep when it got dark. While electricity means that we can carry on as normal until the early hours of the morning if we choose, our bodies still interpret light at night as a signal that we should be awake. 

That’s why it’s important to make sure your bedroom is properly dark. Blackout curtains or a sleep mask can help to block out unwanted light sources. Set the mood a couple of hours before bedtime by transitioning from the bright overhead light to warmer, lower light from lamps or even candles.


Limit how much you drink before bed

When it comes to rest, quality is just as important as duration. Our sleep cycle is made up of four stages, which we go through around five times a night. The late stages, in particular, are critical for restorative sleep, allowing for bodily recovery and growth. If you have to get up in the night to go to the loo, you interrupt your sleep cycle, which means you might not reach the later stages. If your bladder is on the weaker side, it’s worth limiting your fluid intake in the run-up to bedtime to reduce the likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night. 


Dial down the screen time

To absolutely no one’s surprise, that late-night scrolling habit isn’t great for your sleep. Not only can spending time on your phone, laptop or tablet prevent you from winding down properly but the blue light emitted from these devices can also interfere with your natural production of melatonin. Try to put screens away at least an hour before you turn off the light.


Don’t force it

We all get those nights where we find ourselves lying awake, despite how tired we were before we got into bed. If you’re tossing and turning, try putting on a relaxing podcast or sleep story, or reflecting on a favourite memory until sleep naturally takes over. Still wired? Get up, sit somewhere comfortable and do something calming like reading a book or listening to chilled music until you’re sleepier (just avoid scrolling on your phone). 

If you consistently have trouble sleeping, it might be worth speaking with a healthcare professional to rule out any sleep disorders and get personalised advice.

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